A person who attended a graduation event for the Savannah R-III School District on Sunday has tested positive for COVID-19, the district has announced.
“Anyone in attendance at graduation ... is strongly advised to monitor their health,” the district said in a statement. “If you are experiencing any symptoms, or develop a fever, please contact your primary care doctor as soon as possible and be sure to inform them of possible exposure.”
Savannah R-III is coordinating with the Andrew County Health Department for the purposes of contact tracing and responding to the confirmed case. Dr. Eric Kurre, superintendent of schools, said he learned of the infection while away from the office on Tuesday morning, following the return of test results from the patient, which confirmed infection with COVID-19.
Kurre indicated that there had not been any reason for the patient or others to believe the patient was sick at the time they attended the Sunday graduation ceremony. However, the situation serves as a reminder for the public at large that health awareness is essential in today’s environment.
“It’s important for us, if we are having ... So, any kind of symptoms, even if it’s just the normal flu ... to be aware of that, and you know, stay away from others. And you know, on (July 6), we’re opening up in-person summer school in small class sizes, and that’s what we’re preaching then, too. You know? All of our communities need to act that way.”
The health department, reached by phone on Tuesday, declined to release any information — such as age, gender or health condition — about the patient, citing concerns that it would make the patient “too identifiable.” The school district likewise declined to provide such information, citing the same precautions about patient privacy.
News-Press NOW asked Kurre about how, after months of preparation for this inevitable event, he personally feels about the situation and the challenges yet to come.
“My job is educating students,” he said. “My job is turning into trying to educate students the best we can. And, in many new and different ways that our staff ... have never done before. It is new territory, new ground that we educators are embarking on. I am lucky to have an outstanding staff that works with me, with everybody from my central office people to my teachers, to the administrators, to help in some of the decisions in moving forward.
“If I were all by myself, I’d say it would be very daunting, but I’m blessed with the good people that are our S-R-III employees.”
The Andrew County Health Department continues to conduct contact tracing. Anyone who was at the graduation event on Sunday, and believes they may have been exposed to COVID-19, may call 816-324-3139.
The City of Savannah, citing the exposure of a pool employee to COVID-19 at the graduation ceremony, announced on Tuesday night that it will close its aquatic center for 14 days.
News-Press NOW reporters Clayton
Anderson and Chloe Rhein
contributed to this story.